From the moment we got the first phone call to our last goodbyes at the cemetery.
It seems strange to say we were “lucky” for this time. Her death was so sudden. Out to dinner laughing with friends one minute…and then, in an instant, the universe shifted. A 911 call, a series of emergency heart surgeries, a courageous if not unfathomable recovery, a fragile moment of light and hope…before it was taken from us.
Those 18 days were an emotional roller coaster. Ups and downs. Long road trips back and forth from Chicago to Cleveland. Time spent in our heads, praying, hoping, processing, questioning. Running through the carousel of favorite moments and memories.
It’s been a month since she passed. Yet despite that time, there is a still a rawness, a sadness, surely exacerbated by the holidays. The process of accepting that she’s gone, of healing, and adjusting without her in our lives, has only just begun.
Family and friends who heard the news echoed the feeling we all felt, privately in our own hearts, and every time we greeted each other in the waiting room of the ICU, squeezing each other with weary, teary, yet hopeful eyes. Until the end.
After going through it myself, and shortly thereafter hearing of other friends who have lost loved ones—it occurred to me that there really are no words adequate to sum up the loss.
Those 18 days were a mixed bag of doubt, hope, despair, numbness, strength, sorrow and ultimately surrender.
Looking back on the photos I took during that time, I realized that, consciously or not, the images below captured how I was feeling in those moments, in a way that words couldn’t. In shadows, in nature, in art on the walls at the hospital, in moments, in the sky… I was looking for an answer.
Not sure I ever found it in those 18 days. But I did find comfort. In the beauty. In the order of things. In the belief that somehow, some way, there must be a reason why.